A DARK cloud hung over Zimbabwe yesterday following the death of popular actor Lazarus “Gringo” Boora who succumbed to cancer at a private health institution in Harare.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Gringo was admitted on Thursday last week under the care of Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) doctors.
MDPPZA president Johannes Marisa confirmed his death to NewsDay Life & Style.
“After consulting with relatives, I am sad to announce the death of Lazarus Boora aka Gringo this morning. The stomach cancer took our best comedian from among us. We thank the association of private practitioners, MDPPZA, for their efforts to treat him. Rest in peace Gringo,” he said.
Gringo’s death came exactly 24 hours after the country lost socialite Genius ‘Ginimbi’ Kadungure in a car crash.
In a condolence message, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Gringo would be remembered as “our dear Gringo” who brought joy and laughter in households.
South Africa-based Zimbabwean film producer and cartoonist Enock Chihombori, the man behind the Gringo character said Boora’s death had robbed him of someone who shared his vision.
In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, from his Mzansi base, Chihombori said after the death of Gringo, he might not write another Gringo script for television or film.
“I might not write another Gringo script for television or film, but I can continue to do Gringo cartoons. I do have one more Gringo script though which we had planned to shoot,” he said.
Chihombori said the late Gringo’s acting abilities made his scripts seem better than their actual conception, adding that his journey had been cut short as he could have given a lot more to the creative industry.
“The passing on of Lazarus Boora has robbed me of someone who really meant a lot in my life. With him as the leading figure, my life and the lives of those we worked with completely changed when we did the first production of Gringo in 1998,” he said.
“He was the leading figure who simply made things tick for us and the production itself. His acting abilities simply made my scripts seem better than they really were. I have lost a great companion, friend and work colleague. May your soul rest in peace Lazzy.”
Chihombori said his only comfort was that he knew that Gringo managed to bring smiles and laughter to many.
“A simple task, he (Gringo) brought smiles and laughter into people’s lives and homes. We shall remember you for that, but your wit and humour shall forever be missed. You played all your parts very well and we applauded with joy, but sadly, your final act has brought tears,” he said.
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director Nicholas Moyo described the late entertainer as the master of local television.
“The NACZ management and staff would like to express their sincerest condolences to Amai Boora and the Boora family, the arts fraternity and the nation at large following the passing on of one of the country’s most recognisable television personalities. May his Soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.
“Lazarus was a rare breed of comedian who was propelled to fame by the 1997 ZBCTV hit drama series Gringo and he subsequently featured in other spin-offs of the show like Gringo Ndiani and Gringo Mari Iripi. He recently starred as Gibbo in the ZTV series Village Secrets.”
Gringo’s acting career began when he appeared on a TV commercial for Castle Lager and he later on worked for the now defunct Joy TV where he appeared on some TV shows.
He carved his name with the popular drama series Gringo in which he shared the platform with one of the country’s best actresses, the late Sthembeni Makawa who played the role of Mai Gweshegweshe.
Gringo was arguably one of the best actors of his generation as he played the role of a notorious gardener who uses unscrupulous means to “fix” his errors.
He is survived by wife Netsai Meki and seven children. Mourners are gathered at 6653 Vhumba Close in Zimre Park, Harare.
Gringo’s body, according to his brother and family spokesperson Tendai Chaipa would leave Nyaradzo parlour today at 2pm to lay in state in Zimre Park.
“Gringo’s body will leave Harare on Wednesday morning for Rusape ahead of burial scheduled for Thursday,” he said.